Loxleys celebrates guest's very special birthday
Published: 28th February 2019 | By: Admin
Jim Allcock marked his 90th birthday by returning to Loxleys - the very same building he was born in 90 years ago.
The nonagenarian was joined by his family for the special occasion, which took place in the courtyard he played in as a child - now a covered dining area thanks to a state-of-the-art retractable roof installed during our refurbishment in 2018.
At the time of Mr Allcock’s birth in 1929 the building was a greengrocer’s.
“The day I was born it was apparently a terrible snowstorm,” he said. “Apparently the doctor could just about get here on his bike. There wasn’t electricity or anything like that, and we didn’t have a bathroom - just an outdoor toilet. What is now the snug was the front room but we were only allowed in there on Sundays.”
He may have been young but Mr Allcock has plenty of memories of his time on Sheep Street, including baths in a tin bath in front of the fire and playing in the courtyard.
My father used to make us polish all the fruit that was outside the front of the shop so it looked perfect,” said Mr Allcock. You used to get the gentry come in their horse-drawn landaus. They wouldn’t get out, you would have to go and serve them while they sat in the carriage so if they wanted an apple you’d have to take it over to them and they’d decide if it looked good enough.
“With the theatre being just down the road you would get actors walking up the road in full costume, so suddenly Falstaff would appear. It was quite surreal.”
Mr Allcock’s family moved to Bristol two years before the Second World War, but when war broke out the children were evacuated - Mr Allcock’s sisters to Devon and he back to Stratford, where he lived with his grandmother on Great William Street until the war was over. His father was called up and his mother moved to Birmingham to live with her sister, working in the Cadbury factory.
Eventually the family was reunited in Birmingham, which is where Mr Allcock met wife Valerie. The couple married in March 1956 and went on to have two daughters and a son, who all joined them to celebrate the special birthday.
It’s not the first time some of the family have returned to Loxleys - popping in six years ago just after it had been transformed from a ladies' clothes shop into a restaurant.
“It was great to be able to have some lunch here last time,” Mr Allcock added. “We sat upstairs in the room that used to be my bedroom and managed to have a good look round. And now we’ve come back again - this time now the courtyard is covered we could sit in the exact place I used to play. It’s definitely full of memories for me and it’s nice to be back.”
Jonathan Lea, General Manager at Loxleys, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Jim and his family back to Loxleys for such a special occasion. We’re so proud of the history of our beautiful building, which is why we kept the name Loxleys when we took over the premises. That’s also why, despite an extensive refurbishment, we kept some of the features Jim remembers so vividly from his childhood.
“History is really important to us here - not just our own history but the history that’s everywhere in Stratford - so it’s great to be able to celebrate with someone who has so many happy memories. Happy birthday!”